International events taking place in the UK, budget hotel developments and the fall of the British pound may soften the impact of the economic crisis for hoteliers, as it look set to deepen in 2009.
The British Hotel 2009 report by consultancy firm PKF shows that while 2008 was a year of negative growth for many hotels across the UK, events taking place this year may present hoteliers with a more positive outlook.
Last year saw an average occupancy decline of 2.5 per cent in UK hotels to 73.9 per cent, despite a raised average achieved room rate (AARR) of 2.3 per cent to £100.33. Hotels in London fared better than those in the regions, with occupancy levels declining by 1.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.
Robert Barnard, hotel consultancy service partner at PKF, said that while the report was the company’s ‘gloomiest yet,’ hoteliers should consider the business the falling value of the pound will bring to the UK.
“Sterling has dropped to record lows against the Euro and the US Dollar and this should encourage visitors from both Europe and North America who, in the last few years, have avoided the UK due to the strength of Sterling,” he said.
Barnard also claimed that key international events hosted in the UK this year such as The Ashes and ICC World Twenty20, coupled with Premier Inn and Travelodge’s ‘aggressive development plans’ for expansion, may help to boost UK visitor numbers as demand for budget accommodation continues to surge.
The report also showed that Liverpool, last year`s European Capital for Culture, broke the mould in 2008 with the highest occupancy growth of the UK’s regional cities, increasing six per cent year on year to 77.9 per cent, while York’s grew above that of London by 3.2 per cent to 80.8 per cent.